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Marella Dream Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,170 Reviews

Carry on Cruising

Marella Dream Cruise Review by Leemtb

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2018
  • Destination: Canary Islands

This was my first cruise, although my partner has done several. She had certain expectations based on her previous experiences, but l had none. We didn’t pay a great deal in the scheme of things and we added the all inclusive drinks package, which as it turns out wasn’t all inclusive, rather selective. We ended up paying another £50 each for ‘premium’ and even then the was still an element of selectiveness. So go to the coffee lounge and coffee is included, but not before 10am. Come on Tui, how ridiculous is that. Sounds like something an accountant dreamt up to save a few quid. All inclusive should mean just that, so shame on a Tui for not being open and transparent by hiding the detail in the small print. I’d be happy to pay more and not have to second guess everything. Hopefully GDPR should sort that out.

The ship is very much 3 star, but there are no claims to the contrary. It’s old and tired, and l’m guessing 2nd or 3rd hand. It certainly looks dated docked next to the modern mega cruise ships ( as well as tiny). Car ferry sized l’d guess. It’s all white exterior reminded me of the cruise ships of the late 60’s/70’s. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but don’t expect anything sleek and modern or old and well preserved.

The cabins and facilities followed suit in terms of their look and feel. Did their job but passed their best. The bathroom is big enough, but the toilet can’t be used as it should, it’s too close to the bath.. If you’re a big person then you’ll be resigned to using it in a side saddle type arrangement. Bonkers! We had an outside plus cabin, so be aware we had more room than some.

Food on the ship can be very good, especially in the Orion restaurant. We had breakfast there too. Stay clear of the porridge though, it’s truly awful. Thin, watery and tasteless. Think thin wall paper paste. We did mention it, so the head waiter took my name and cabin number, not sure what for. No sign of the porridge police at any point.

If you get the upgraded drinks package be aware that the wine glasses are on the small side, which wouldn’t be a problem if the sommelier wasn’t trying to cover all the tables on his own. A bit of a drought on the wine front as a result during dinner.

Much of the entertainment is very much holiday camp in style, not everyone’s cup of tea, but some will love it. There are plenty of places to get away from it if it’s not your thing. The dress code was very casual. A blessing for me, but a disappointment for my partner who loves to glam up.

The places you stop off at on the cruise can be beautiful. We did the cycle trip on La Palma. Don’t take this one on if you don’t cycle, there’s 400m of climbing. There are much easier rides on the other islands. Flat as we understand it.

We did a 4x4 trip in Agadir. Truly awful. Agadir is was it is, third world and very dirty. If you can see beyond that or ignore it, then you might have a good time. We were taken to see local people who were clearly not engaged with in any way by Tui. We and others on the trip felt as guilty as hell, fat white Europeans invading their privacy. Some of the locals got angry and didn’t hold back and I can’t say l blame them. Unpleasant all round. We made our feelings felt with the Tui rep and received a refund.

The staff on board are very attentive and friendly, and the whole ship is generally. So no issues in that respect. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day.

Tui makes some reference to environmental considerations in its literature, but they don’t seem to follow through on board, so that might bother you, it did me. Plenty of single use plastics about, all of which could be stopped with the tiniest bit of thought. No excuses Tui, sort it out and don’t take your time about it.

Would l do a cruise again? Yes, probably as it was generally a good experience. With Tui, doubtful.

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